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Salt Lake reliever airport defended against closure threats

AOPA has responded promptly to comments by two Utah public officials who questioned the future of a Salt Lake City reliever airport that supports an estimated 1,220 jobs, serves as a general aviation gateway to the region, and enables millions of dollars in economic activity.

Citing encroachment by development and safety concerns about South Valley Regional Airport, West Jordan, Utah, Mayor Melissa K. Johnson enlisted the aid of U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) who initially said he favored closing the airport, according to a Sept. 18 report in the Deseret News .

Johnson was also taking steps to put a question about the airport’s future on the Oct. 13 agenda of the West Jordan City Council.

In an Oct. 1 letter to Johnson, AOPA Airport Policy Manager John L. Collins wrote that it was “unfortunate that previous local planning decisions allowed the airport to become encroached by significant residential development.” He reviewed the airport’s positive safety record and pointed out that South Valley Regional Airport, which hosts a National Guard unit, 249 private aircraft, and 80,000 annual operations, is owned by the City of Salt Lake, and plays a key role in congestion reduction at Salt Lake City International Airport. The City of Salt Lake values South Valley Regional, which is also referred to as Salt Lake #2, and “would not consider closing the airport,” Collins said.

Airport Support Network sources say that Chaffetz is reconsidering his support for closing the airport—which, according to a 2004 study by the Utah Division of Aeronautics, generated local and regional economic activity of $54,375,900, including enabling 1,220 jobs with total salaries of $36.3 million. The airport is also obligated by the terms for its acceptance of federal Airport Improvement Grant funding. Since 1991, the airport has received more than $5 million in Airport Improvement Program grants, including $300,000 in 2010, and $880,000 for runway improvements in 2003.

Because of the airport’s ownership by Salt Lake City, any action taken on South Valley Airport by the West Jordan City Council would amount to a non-binding resolution.

Dan Namowitz
Dan Namowitz
Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 35-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy

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